We are driven by our values and constrained by our norms, not only by external factors. However, not all values are on the same footing. There are primary, secondary, and even higher order values.a)Bring out two primary values of your own. b)To what extent do you think there can be value conflicts when you are serving others?

Values form the external frame of an individual’s personality and determine their behavior, character and attitude. Values can be either personal or cultural.
I will highlight one of my personal values, and one of my cultural values. One of my personal values is to be honest. I believe honesty is a very important quality that must permeate one’s personal and professional life. No good can ever come from falsities. Resorting to dishonesty may defer the problem for the short-term or result in a gain in the short-term, but the dishonest action will be revealed in due course of time. Also, one lie just fosters even more lies to cover-up the initial lie, and forms a vicious cycle of dishonesty. I think there can be a value conflict w.r.t this virtue to a certain extent. While honesty may be a desirable quality, not everything can be clearly defined as right or wrong. There are some grey areas too. We tell white lies on an everyday basis in an effort to protect a loved one or not hurt another person’s feeling. While this may technically be considered lying, it is done with the best of intentions. For example, while convincing the people of a tribal area to embrace development, one may emphasize the positive effects of development while downplaying the adverse effects. This is technically lying by omission. But the person lying may be doing it with the best intentions at heart.
A cultural value that has been instilled in me is to treat our elders with respect. While most Indians are brought up learning how to respect the elders, it is a cultural trait that is absent in the western world. This is observable in both the personal and professional context. In India, we do not address our elder siblings or our bosses by their names, as it is considered disrespectful in most instances, but it is the norm to do so in many western countries. In the context of serving others too, this could lead to complications. For example, you are a District Collector working with a much older and experienced economist on chalking up of a certain programme for your district. In case of disagreement between you and economist, it is tempting to not put your point across forcefully to the aged economist. However, even though you respect the economist for his age and experience, however, your first duty is to serve the interests of the people.
Conflicts arise when the values go against anybody’s personal interest. For instance in rural banks where agricultural loans are given the traditionally well off and well connected may pressurize the manager to give them loans without much enquiry bypassing the rules. Thus in a country like India where there are stark social, economic inequalities, the elites may not find it easier when the concerns and welfare those marginalized are being accommodated.

Question for UPSC Mains:
"We are driven by our values and constrained by our norms, not only by external factors. However, not all values are on the same footing. There are primary, secondary, and even higher order values." a) Bring out two primary values of your own. b) To what extent do you think there can be value conflicts when you are serving others? {150 words, 10 marks}

Published: September 30, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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